Every year, it seems the American League East is among the most competitive divisions in the Majors. This season is no different: All five clubs are well within striking distance of the top spot in the standings.Predicting the order in which the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays
Every year, it seems the American League East is among the most competitive divisions in the Majors. This season is no different: All five clubs are well within striking distance of the top spot in the standings.
Predicting the order in which the Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays will finish on an annual basis is no easy task. In fact, it's nearly impossible.
Toronto, which bested Baltimore in the 2016 AL Wild Card Game and swept Texas in the AL Division Series before falling to Cleveland in the AL Championship Series, began '17 with a 3-12 record. The Blue Jays recovered, going 18-10 in May and, while still in last place, find themselves back in the thick of things.
New York owns one of the Majors' best records, but none of the other four clubs in the division are far behind. The intradivision intrigue continues on Sunday with the Yanks and Jays battling at the Rogers Centre, and the Red Sox and O's squaring off at Oriole Park at Camden Yards as part of a full slate of games, streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Jays take flight: NYY@TOR, 1:07 p.m.
The surging Blue Jays try to secure the series finale against the Yankees, sending right-hander Marcus Stroman to the mound to oppose righty Luis Severino.
Stroman has earned victories in each of his last five decisions, and he has gone 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA over the course of the first two months of the season. Severino has been equally impressive, winning back-to-back starts while also allowing just two earned runs across his last 19 1/3 innings.
Sale looks to rebound: BOS@BAL, 1:35 p.m.
In his most recent outing, Chris Sale was unable to complete at least six innings for the first time this season, and yet, he still pitched well enough to improve to 6-2 on the year.
Prior to Tuesday's start against the White Sox, Sale had pitched at least seven innings in nine of his 10 appearances. A dominating force, the lefty should be able to get back on track versus the O's after surrendering six runs (five earned) to his former club.
Baltimore sends struggling right-hander Chris Tillman to the hill after he gave up five runs in 2 2/3 frames to the Yankees on Tuesday.
Rookie's encore: CLE@KC, 2:15 p.m.
Eric Skoglund, the Royals' third-round selection in the 2014 Draft, made his Major League debut on Tuesday. He beat the Tigers with 6 1/3 scoreless innings, permitting just two hits and one walk while striking out five batters.
The 24-year-old lefty was marvelous in his first big league start and will look to keep rolling when he takes on the Indians and right-hander Trevor Bauer, who racked up a career-high 14 strikeouts in his previous outing.
Peacock's emergence: HOU@TEX, 3:05 p.m.
Astros right-hander Brad Peacock began the 2017 season pitching out of the bullpen before being inserted into the rotation on May 22. In two starts, he has given up four earned runs in nine innings (4.00 ERA), striking out 16 batters over that span.
Peacock will try to work deeper into the game, as he has yet to eclipse 78 pitches in an outing this year. Texas counters with left-hander Martin Perez, who is 2-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 11 starts this season.
Berrios tries to keep Pujols, Angels in check: MIN@LAA, 3:37 p.m.
Twins phenomenon Jose Berrios was cruising with wins in each of his first three starts since receiving the call to the big leagues on May 13. That was before running into the team with the best record in the Majors earlier this week.
The Astros handed the 23-year-old his first loss of the year, tagging him for four runs on five hits and four walks in five frames.
Berrios looks to keep Angels slugger Jose Pujols from adding to his career homer total. The veteran clubber career homer No. 600 on Saturday night.
The Angels turn to Ricky Nolasco to toe the rubber opposite Berrios. The 34-year-old is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 2017.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C.